How to Throw the Perfect Thanksgiving with These Top Guides

Sandy Writtenhouse 27-10-2017

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for spending time with loved ones 13 Netflix Movies to Watch With Family This Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect with family, eat too much food, and... watch films together on Netflix. We may have just made that last one up, but you're here aren't you?! Read More , giving thanks, and of course, gobbling up a delicious dinner! From start to finish, this list of sites and sources can help you make this Thanksgiving unforgettable.


Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time 13 iPhone Apps to Plan and Host an Awesome Party If you're hosting a party, you'll want to get things just right. Fortunately there are some geat apps designed to help everything go smoothly. Read More or are just looking to change things up this year, get ready to bookmark these helpful websites and useful videos.

How to Plan for Thanksgiving Day

If you have never made or hosted a Thanksgiving dinner before, you may feel as nervous as you do excited. So, for a little help with getting it all organized, here are a few excellent resources for planning.

Food Network’s website offers a useful Thanksgiving Countdown Planner. You start off with preparations a month before the holiday like creating your guest list and planning your menu. Then, move onto tasks you should do from weeks to days ahead of time. Not all items may apply to your specific event, but for those that do, this planner is a big help, especially for newbies.

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Epicurious provides the same type of planner as Food Network, but gets things rolling even sooner at six weeks out. And, if you enjoy visiting the Epicurious site for recipes and tips already, then this planner is the tool for you.


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Another great Thanksgiving planner comes from the Better Homes & Gardens site. With this tool, you begin preparations in early November and just follow the easy-to-read lists for each part of the month before the holiday. Plus, if you have an account with the site, you can save the planner for quick access anytime.

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How to Create Your Own Decorations

If you are looking for some basic yet attractive and simple-to-make decorations Save Money on Decorating Ideas With These 11 Awesome Websites It's easy to overspend in lots of areas of your life. Cut back in one of those areas by checking out our list of websites that'll save you money when decorating. Read More , look no further. These awesome sources can give you ideas and instructions for creating a lovely setting for your Thanksgiving dinner.


With Midwest Living, you can check out 35 ideas for your Thanksgiving décor. From a wreath of thanks for welcoming your guests to warming candles during dinner, these ideas are perfect for those who enjoy do-it-yourself projects and crafts.

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If you want to just stick with creating a beautiful centerpiece, then head to the Good Housekeeping website. Not only can you get ideas, but see the supplies you need, where you can buy them, and how much they cost. And, some centerpiece options offer a tutorial for you to watch. With almost 30 centerpiece ideas, you are sure to find the one that fits your table best.

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Maybe you are looking for something a little different with your décor this Thanksgiving. If you have children or grandchildren, why not let them have some fun making those special decorations? With the materials needed, written instructions, and helpful photos, check out these 20 options from HGTV. Select the one you like and get all the details you need for your kid-crafted Thanksgiving décor.

plan perfect thanksgiving guides hgtv

How to Pick Out a Turkey

You must consider several factors when it is time to shop for your Thanksgiving turkey. The biggest one is knowing how many people you need to feed. Will you be serving turkey to adults, children, and heavy eaters? If yes, how many? And, if you want to relish those leftovers after the holiday, make sure you keep that in mind.

Next, you want to decide if you prefer a fresh or frozen turkey. While fresh meat is ready to go when you buy it, a frozen turkey takes at least a day to defrost if not more, depending on the size.


Once you make these decisions, a great way to find the best size turkey is by using the Butterball calculator. Just enter the number of adults and children, mark the box if you want leftovers, and then choose between heavy or light eaters for your group. The handy calculator will then show you how many pounds your turkey should be and how much of that delicious stuffing it will hold.

How to Thaw a Turkey

If you decide to buy a frozen turkey, Butterball also offers a calculator for how long to thaw it. Enter the number of turkey pounds and choose between refrigerator or cold-water thawing. The Butterball site offers more terrific tips, advice, recipes for that special holiday. So, be sure to browse around while you are there.

How to Stuff a Turkey

When you are ready to pop that tasty dressing into your turkey, make sure you know the proper way to stuff it. In just a few simple steps, the Taste of Home recipe site can show you how. And if you are looking for a new stuffing recipe, the website offers a ton of options. From sausage and cornbread dressing to mushroom stuffing, you are sure to find a winner your family will love.

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How to Carve a Turkey

Carving a turkey may sound simple, but if you have never done it before you might be surprised. It is not as easy as a few slices here and there, especially if you want to do it correctly. The Huffington Post website has easy-to-follow instructions with photos to help. Or if you are an Epicurious fan, you can follow their simple steps and photos instead.

plan perfect thanksgiving guides epicurious turkey carving

If you would prefer to follow a video rather than just written steps and photos, there are a few great resources for that too.

BuzzFeedFood offers a good video that gives you visual steps with an actual turkey-carving. This makes it easy for pausing and picking up again as you go.

The Chowhound YouTube channel is another super option for a video turkey carving lesson. What’s nice about this tutorial is that Chef Mark Dommen hosts the video by telling you things you might be doing wrong and then shows you the correct methods.

One more awesome video comes again from the turkey company, Butterball. Along with watching the tutorial, you can click on links for specifics like carving the breast, drumsticks, and wings.

How to Make a Non-Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner

Most people believe that a turkey, stuffing, and potatoes are the only way to go for Thanksgiving dinner. But what if you want to think outside the turkey? Maybe a vegan or vegetarian dinner is your preference 7 Vegetarian Recipe Sites For The Struggling Former Meat Eater Little did I know that there's a virtual smorgasbord of foods when it comes to vegetables, grains, beans and nuts. I really wish I'd explored these websites before, and I'm pleased to offer them as... Read More . Or perhaps you would like a different type of meat. Here are some great sources for alternative Thanksgiving feasts.

When you want to go the vegan route for your Thanksgiving guests, head to VegKitchen. This super source gives you ideas and recipes for a complete dinner no one will forget. From soups and bread to sides and desserts, your perfect Thanksgiving dinner plan is a click away.

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If you are interested in a Thanksgiving ham, pop back over to the Taste of Home site for delicious recipes. You can make a baked ham with orange glaze, a slow-cooked ham with pineapple sauce, or just stick with an old-fashioned baked ham.

plan perfect thanksgiving guides taste of home ham

For something completely different this Thanksgiving, take a look at the dinner ideas from Whole Foods Market’s website. Do Szechuan Cornish hens with mandarin-glazed carrots sound good? Or maybe you would like a vegetarian dinner with a tofu vegetable loaf and swiss chard with shallots. Whole Foods Market can help you with these dishes and more.

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How to Eat Up the Leftovers

Once the holiday dinner is over, the guests have gone home, and the remaining food is in the fridge, you get to rest. But you also get to look forward to those leftovers. If you need a little help with creative ideas for eating up the rest of the food, here you go.

Allrecipes has a wonderful collection of recipes for your turkey, potato, and cranberry leftovers. From salads to casseroles to pot pies, nothing will go to waste with these tasty ideas.

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Country Living is another excellent site for creating something new with your leftovers. You can browse through 27 recipes for turkey, potatoes, ham, pumpkin, and beyond.

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The Food Network site comes through this Thanksgiving once again, helping you with leftovers. Whether you want the next-day turkey soup or fried stuffing bites, the site offers up yummy ideas.

plan perfect thanksgiving guides food network leftovers

How Soon Do You Start Preparing for Thanksgiving?

Some people are putting up gigantic inflatable turkeys in their yard the day after Halloween. But others just start their Thanksgiving planning a few days before the holiday.

To help your Thanksgiving go even smoother, be sure to check out the best Thanksgiving apps for iPhone The 10 Best Thanksgiving Apps for iPhone Here are the best Thanksgiving apps for iPhone to help you prepare the meal, relax with games, and send greetings. Read More and websites to get into the Thanksgiving spirit.

How soon do you start your preparations for Thanksgiving? Are you an early bird who plans and decorates as soon as you can? Or are you more laid back where you wait until the last possible minute? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Happy Thanksgiving!

Image Credit: ArturVerkhovetskiy/Depositphotos

Related topics: Food, Planning Tool.

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